this is part 2 of a three-part series where i’m writing about doing the work that matters, why it can be so hard to do this work, and the things i’ve done to get back to center and actually make progress on my life’s work.
last time i defined “the work that matters.”
this week we’re talking about blocks, or why it’s sometimes so hard to do the work that matters most to us.
for the past 16 years i’ve been creatively blocked.
last year, when i started getting serious about my creative practice i did a lot of excavation into my creative blocks—the thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors that prevent us from making progress on our most important work.
here’s an incomplete cocktail 🍹 of the creative blocks i identified within myself:
when each of these blocks came up, i would journal about it. my goal was to identify the root of the problem, since tackling each one independently felt impossible. they were all intertwined, a messy tangle of self-doubt.
for me at least, the root of it all was fear.
fear of failure. fear of the unknown.
it scared me to think about what would happen if i tried to become a successful artist and failed at it.
if i simply didn’t try to make my dream a reality, then i couldn’t fail. and if i didn’t try, then i wouldn’t have to face the ultimate disappointment—that i’m not good enough to do anything meaningful or important. better to play small, easy-to win-games than try and fail at something that really mattered to me.
but of course, once i admit that i held within me a dream that was different than the life i was living, it was impossible to turn back. the cat was out of the bag, and now the only thing to do was figure out what to do with it.
now, dear reader, i wish i could tell you that after naming my fear and staring it in the face i was able to become the prolific artist i’ve always wanted to be. but alas, that is not my story. it turns out there was an even deeper block that was buried deep inside. a block that was born 16 years ago.
next time, i’ll be writing about this deep block. for now, i leave you with the task of identifying your own blocks. take note this coming week—when and where are you shutting yourself down or prioritizing everything else except the work that matters most? when you notice a block, gently ask yourself if there is a deeper fear or emotion behind that block. keep questioning. oftentimes this deep fear or emotion buried deep inside is embarrassing or shameful, and i assure you this is normal.
send me your notes about your blocks if you wish! as always, i love to hear your thoughts.